Photos: North Korea blows up inter-Korean liaison office; tensions rise

North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office on its side of the border with South Korea on June 16, in an explosive rebuke to Seoul that appeared designed to draw maximum global attention. The demolition of a facility that served as a de facto embassy for the two countries represents North Korea’s most serious provocation in years and comes after days of escalating rhetoric fuelled by anti-Kim leaflets flown across the border by South Korea-based activists.

UPDATED ON JUN 16, 2020 07:00 PM IST 11 Photos
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A banner showing an image of late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is displayed to mark the 20th anniversary of the June 2000 inter-Korean summit and joint peace declaration, near the demilitarized zone in Cheorwon, South Korea on June 15. North Korea has blown an inter-Korean liaison office on its side of the border a day later, after days of hostile rhetoric from Pyongyang. (Yang Ji-ung / Yonhap via AP)

A banner showing an image of late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is displayed to mark the 20th anniversary of the June 2000 inter-Korean summit and joint peace declaration, near the demilitarized zone in Cheorwon, South Korea on June 15. North Korea has blown an inter-Korean liaison office on its side of the border a day later, after days of hostile rhetoric from Pyongyang. (Yang Ji-ung / Yonhap via AP)

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Smoke rises from North Korea’s Kaesong Industrial Complex where the inter-Korean liaison office was set up in 2018. The demolition came after state media quoted Kim Yo Jong -- the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un -- saying on June 13 that the “useless north-south joint liaison office” would soon be seen “completely collapsed.” (Yonhap / AFP)

Smoke rises from North Korea’s Kaesong Industrial Complex where the inter-Korean liaison office was set up in 2018. The demolition came after state media quoted Kim Yo Jong -- the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un -- saying on June 13 that the “useless north-south joint liaison office” would soon be seen “completely collapsed.” (Yonhap / AFP)

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North Korean (rear) and South Korean (foreground) guard posts in Paju, the border between the two countries on June 16. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said today the office’s destruction was in line with “the mindset of the enraged people to surely force human scum and those who have sheltered the scum to pay dearly for their crimes.” (Ahn Young-joon / AP)

North Korean (rear) and South Korean (foreground) guard posts in Paju, the border between the two countries on June 16. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said today the office’s destruction was in line with “the mindset of the enraged people to surely force human scum and those who have sheltered the scum to pay dearly for their crimes.” (Ahn Young-joon / AP)

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South Korean soldiers walk up the stairs of a guard post in a sideline of Imjingak peace park in the border city of Paju on June 16. North Korea’s army is “fully ready” to take action against the South, state media said on June 16 in the latest verbal sabre-rattling from Pyongyang. (Jung Yeon-je / AFP)

South Korean soldiers walk up the stairs of a guard post in a sideline of Imjingak peace park in the border city of Paju on June 16. North Korea’s army is “fully ready” to take action against the South, state media said on June 16 in the latest verbal sabre-rattling from Pyongyang. (Jung Yeon-je / AFP)

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South Korean army soldiers patrol along the barbed-wire fence in Paju, near the border with North Korea on June 15. Earlier today, North Korean state media quoted the military as saying it has been studying an “action plan” to re-enter zones that had been demilitarized under a 2018 inter-Korean pact and “turn the front line into a fortress.” (Ahn Young-joon / AP)

South Korean army soldiers patrol along the barbed-wire fence in Paju, near the border with North Korea on June 15. Earlier today, North Korean state media quoted the military as saying it has been studying an “action plan” to re-enter zones that had been demilitarized under a 2018 inter-Korean pact and “turn the front line into a fortress.” (Ahn Young-joon / AP)

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South and North Korean officials attend an opening ceremony of the joint liaison office in Kaesong on September 14, 2018, days before the South’s President Moon Jae-in flew to Pyongyang for his third summit with Kim Jong-un. Inter-Korean relations soured following the collapse of the Hanoi summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in February 2019. (AFP)

South and North Korean officials attend an opening ceremony of the joint liaison office in Kaesong on September 14, 2018, days before the South’s President Moon Jae-in flew to Pyongyang for his third summit with Kim Jong-un. Inter-Korean relations soured following the collapse of the Hanoi summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in February 2019. (AFP)

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A captured image from a thermal observation device shows the explosion at the inter-Korean liaison office. Footage of the explosion released by Seoul’s presidential Blue House showed a blast rolling across several buildings just across the border in Kaesong, with a nearby tower partially collapsing as clouds of smoke rose into the sky. (Dong-A Ilbo / AFP)

A captured image from a thermal observation device shows the explosion at the inter-Korean liaison office. Footage of the explosion released by Seoul’s presidential Blue House showed a blast rolling across several buildings just across the border in Kaesong, with a nearby tower partially collapsing as clouds of smoke rose into the sky. (Dong-A Ilbo / AFP)

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in takes off his face mask to preside over a meeting with top presidential advisers at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea on June 15. Moon called on North Korea to stop raising animosities and return to talks, adding that the rivals must not reverse the peace deals that he and the North Korean leader reached during the 2018 summits. (Lee Jin-wook / Yonhap via AP)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in takes off his face mask to preside over a meeting with top presidential advisers at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea on June 15. Moon called on North Korea to stop raising animosities and return to talks, adding that the rivals must not reverse the peace deals that he and the North Korean leader reached during the 2018 summits. (Lee Jin-wook / Yonhap via AP)

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South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, (5th from left) and other participants attend a ceremony to unveil an installation artwork to commemorate the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Korean War, in Seoul on June 15. The two Koreas remain technically at war after Korean War hostilities ended with an armistice in 1953 that was never replaced with a peace treaty. (AP)

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, (5th from left) and other participants attend a ceremony to unveil an installation artwork to commemorate the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Korean War, in Seoul on June 15. The two Koreas remain technically at war after Korean War hostilities ended with an armistice in 1953 that was never replaced with a peace treaty. (AP)

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Visitors look at ribbons wishing for peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula on a military fence at Imjingak peace park near the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas in the border city of Paju on June 16. (Jung Yeon-je / AFP)

Visitors look at ribbons wishing for peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula on a military fence at Imjingak peace park near the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas in the border city of Paju on June 16. (Jung Yeon-je / AFP)

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A visitor looks toward North’s side through binoculars at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, near the border village of Panmunjom on June 15. North Korea continues to lay the blame for the provocation on anti-Kim leaflets -- usually attached to hot air balloons or floated in bottles along will food, media content and currency bills -- flown across the border by South Korea-based activists. (Ahn Young-joon / AP)

A visitor looks toward North’s side through binoculars at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, near the border village of Panmunjom on June 15. North Korea continues to lay the blame for the provocation on anti-Kim leaflets -- usually attached to hot air balloons or floated in bottles along will food, media content and currency bills -- flown across the border by South Korea-based activists. (Ahn Young-joon / AP)

UPDATED ON JUN 16, 2020 07:00 PM IST
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